Sweet Cherry & Quinoa Pilaf

Michigan cherries are a fixture at many locals table in July. And after last year’s catastrophic harvest, we’ve good reason to celebrate this year’s bounty with the farmers.

My palate’s a bit saturated with vinaigrette-based salads, so tonight I prefer more of a warm pilaf-styled side dish for the chicken I grilled. I took liberties calling this dish a pilaf; technically, pilaf is a rice preparation.

Recipe: Sweet Cherry & Quinoa Pilaf


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 and 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2-3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, optional
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Toast pine nuts, stirring often, until golden brown, remembering that pine nuts burn quickly when unattended.
  2. Remove nuts from pan and reserve. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pan and shallot and cook until softened, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add quinoa and lightly toast with shallot a couple of minutes; stir in 2 1/2 cups stock, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes, or until tender, adding additional liquid if needed. Stir in butter, if using. Let rest, covered, 10 minutes. Stir in cherries, pine nuts and mint.

Number of servings (yield): 6

Time: 35 minutes

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